Deconstructing Ergativity: Two Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features by Maria PolinskyDeconstructing Ergativity: Two Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features by Maria Polinsky

Deconstructing Ergativity: Two Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features

byMaria Polinsky

Paperback | April 26, 2016

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Nominative-accusative and ergative are two common alignment types found across languages. In the former type, the subject of an intransitive verb and the subject of a transitive verb are expressed the same way, and differently from the object of a transitive. In ergative languages, the subjectof an intransitive and the object of a transitive appear in the same form, the absolutive, and the transitive subject has a special, ergative, form. Ergative languages often follow very different patterns, thus evading a uniform description and analysis. A simple explanation for that has to do withthe idea that ergative languages, much as their nominative-accusative counterparts, do not form a uniform class. In this book, Maria Polinsky argues that ergative languages instantiate two main types, the one where the ergative subject is a prepositional phrase (PP-ergatives) and the one with anoun-phrase ergative. Each type is internally consistent and is characterized by a set of well-defined properties. The book begins with an analysis of syntactic ergativity, which as Polinsky argues, is a manifestation of the PP-ergative type. Polinsky discusses diagnostic properties that define PPs in general and then goes to show that a subset of ergative expressions fit the profile of PPs. Several alternativeanalyses have been proposed to account for syntactic ergativity; the book presents and outlines these analyses and offers further considerations in support of the PP-ergativity approach. The book then discusses the second type, DP-ergative languages, and traces the diachronic connection between thetwo types. The book includes two chapters illustrating paradigm PP-ergative and DP-ergative languages: Tongan and Tsez. The data used in these descriptions come from Polinsky's original fieldwork hence presenting new empirical facts from both languages.

About The Author

Maria Polinsky is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She investigates the syntax of natural languages, with a particular emphasis on language universals and the range of variation in sentence structure. She has produced detailed syntactic analyses of a number of lesser-studied languages and has a long...
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Title:Deconstructing Ergativity: Two Types of Ergative Languages and Their FeaturesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:April 26, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190256591

ISBN - 13:9780190256593

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviationsPart I: Two types of ergatives1. Introduction1.1 Setting the stage1.2 Syntactic ergativity1.2.1 The phenomenon1.2.2 The range of the phenomenon1.2.3 The relevance of syntactic ergativity1.3. The importance of starting small1.3.1 Syntactic ergativity broadly defined1.3.2 Not all A-bar movement phenomena are created equal1.3.3 Some methodological odds and endsAppendix: Compensatory strategies under syntactic ergativity2. Proposal2.1 Crucial empirical observations2.1.1 Diachronic pathways to ergativity2.1.2 Oblique subjects2.2 The proposal: Two classes of ergative languages2.3 From PP specifier to syntactic ergativity2.3.1 The relationship between the verbal functional head and ergative P2.3.2 Ergative P and P-stranding2.3.3 Ergative P and pied-piping2.3.4 From a PP subject to syntactic ergativity2.4 Basic clausal structures in the two types of ergative languages2.4.1 PP-ergative and DP-ergative languages: transitive clauses2.4.2 PP-ergative and DP-ergative languages: unergative clauses2.4.3 PP specifiers everywhere? Preventing overgeneration2.4.4 Compatibility between the ergative and the passive2.5 Summary3. Prepositional phrases: Establishing the diagnostics3.1 PPs have distinct extraction and subextraction properties3.2 Restrictions on PPs as pivots of clefts3.3 PPs have resumptive proforms and may have special modifiers3.4 PPs are less accessible to agreement probes than DPs are3.5 PPs and binding3.6 PPs and A-movement3.7 PPs and control3.8 Summary4. Ergative as a PP: Take One4.1 Ergative expressions can be PPs4.2 Subextraction out of the ergative expression4.3 Ergative cannot extract leaving a gap4.4 Ergative and agreement4.5 Ergative and depictives4.6 Ergative and quantifier float4.7 Taking stock4.7.1 Silent P head4.7.2 Overt P head4.7.3 The nature of the operator5. Ergative as a PP: Take Two5.1 Binding: Reflexives and reciprocals5.2 Raising5.2.1 No true raising5.2.2 Ergative is not preserved under raising-at least in Tongan5.3 control5.3 Summary6. Cross-linguistic landscape: Correlates of PP-ergativity6.1. Word order correlates6.2 Expletive subjects6.3 Non-canonical (quirky) subjects7. The other ergative: A true DP7.1 Extraction of the ergative with a gap7.2 Subextraction from the ergative and the absolutive7.3 Agreement7.4 Binding7.5 Control and raising7.6 Word order7.7 Summary8. The relationship between the PP-ergative type and the DP-ergative type: Phylogeny and ontogeny8.1 Diachronic relationship between the PP-ergative type and the DP-ergative type8.2 Caught in transition: Niuean8.3 Caught in transition: Adyghe8.4 PP-ergatives and DP-ergatives in language acquisition9. Alternative accounts of variation across ergative languages9.1 Comp-trace vs. P-trace9.2 Criterial freezing9.3 Phase boundaries and high/low absolutive languages9.4 Non-syntactic explanations for variation across ergative languages9.5 SummaryPart II: Paradigm languages10. A paradigm PP-Ergative language: Tongan10.1 Tongan basics10.1.1 General remarks10.1.2 Predicates10.1.3 Case marking10.1.4 Word order: Preliminary remarks10.1.5 Questions10.2 Subject and possessive marking: Clitics10.2.1 Subject clitics10.2.1.1 Basic facts about clitics10.2.1.2 Accounting for Tongan clitics10.2.1.3 Clitic doubling10.2.2 Possessive clitics and possessive markers10.3 Deriving Tongan clause structure10.3.1 Word order: Deriving V110.3.2 Word order: The right periphery10.3.2.1 The definitive accent10.3.2.2 VOS is not due to scrambling10.3.2.3 VOS as rightward topicalization10.3.3 Basic clause structures10.3.3.1 Intransitives: Unaccusatives10.3.3.2 Intransitives: Unergatives10.3.3.3 Transitive clauses10.3.4 Tongan ergativity and split ergativity10.4 A-bar movement10.4.1 Relative clauses10.4.2 Wh-questions10.4.3 Focus: Exceptive constructions10.4.4 Ko-Topicalization10.4.5 Interim summary10.5 Raising and control10.5.1 The status of ke-clauses10.5.2 "Raising" Raising-like verbs and their structures10.5.2.2 What moves in ke-clauses and where? What is the nature of the operator in ke-clauses? The transparency of finite ke-clauses10.5.3 The verb lava10.5.3.1 Monoclausal structure with lava: Restructuring10.5.3.2 Biclausal structures with lava10.5.4 Control10.5.4.1 Basic facts10.5.4.2 No obligatory control10.5.4.3 The internal syntax of control ke-clauses10.5.5 Interim summary10.6 Binding10.6.1 Anaphoric binding10.6.2 Reciprocals? Just pluractionality10.6.3 Other binding contexts10.7 Summary11. A paradigm DP-Ergative language: Tsez11.1 Tsez basics11.1.1 Preliminaries11.1.2 Unergatives and unaccusatives11.1.3 Clauses with two or more arguments11.2 Discontinuous noun phrases11.3 Non-finite forms11.3.1 Infinitival and masdar clauses11.3.2 Event nominalizations11.4 A-bar movement11.5 Raising and control11.5.1 Raising11.5.2 Complement control11.5.2.1 Forward control11.5.2.2 Backward control11.5.3 Infinitival relative clauses11.6 Binding11.6.1 Anaphoric binding11.6.2 Depictives11.7 Interim summary11.8 Deriving Tsez clauses11.8.1 Two possible analyses11.8.1.1 A single vP11.8.1.2 Layered functional heads in the verb phrase11.8.2 Single heads or layered structure: Which analysis is superior?11.9 Summary12. Taking StockReferencesIndex